There is a dizzying variety of conventional melee weapons; every culture across known space has some sort of martial tradition that involves hand-held weapons, those designs often millennia old. They all follow a fairly simple mechanical principle: taking the energy of a swinging arm and focusing it into a fine point, greatly increasing the damage caused.
- Brass knuckles, saps, clubs, baseball bats, staves, maces, flails, morning stars, monkey wrenches, random pieces of furnature, even a stout length of metal pipe. Pretty much anything that isn't nailed down and is easy to swing. Weapons of this variety cause blunt trauma, bruising flesh and breaking bone. Simple to find and brutally effective.
- Shivs, knives, ice picks, swords, spears, axes. Weapons of this variety rely upon a cutting edge combined with brute force, piercing flesh or chopping meat and bone. Knives are easy to conceal, swords are swift and agile and axes can cleave through a lot of types of armor. Most spacers carry some sort of knife as a tool and back-up weapon.
Where ancient martial tradition meets cutting edge technology, exotic melee weapons are a rarity but are impressive in the damage that they can cause in the right hands. In the wrong hands a person will just maim himself, or get gunned down by a more sensible person carrying a good ranged weapon.
- Stun Baton
- A stout length of plastic and metal, containing electrodes that deliver a strong but non-lethal shock upon impact with a lightly armored target. A popular weapon among police and private security. More sophisticated versions of stun batons can induce nausea and vomiting in their targets, causing further incapacitation.
- Telescoping Stave
- A staff made of smart metal; upon pressing a switch it can compact down to a short enough length to fit in a pocket or grow to its full length in a split second. The staff is as strong as a length of steel pipe, being more than capable of breaking bone or beating an opponent into submission.
- Smart Blade
- A sword (or knife, or axe) made of smart metal. The blade retracts fully into its hilt while not in use; with the pressing of a switch the blade is stimulated by an electrical charge that extends it to its full length, allowing it to be used as a conventional weapon of its type. While the smart metal involved is usually not significantly stronger than conventional steel, it does have a strong appeal in that the weapon is easily concealed.
Mono weapons are crafted from materials that are capable of holding an exceptionally fine edge. They tend to be somewhat more fragile than weapons made from other materials, but they have an amazing ability to slice through flesh and light armor with ease. Short of powered weapons, there is nothing deadlier in the field of melee weaponry.
- Mono Sword
- Any blade crafted from a crystalline material that holds a monomolecular edge. These weapons tend to be brittle but they are phenominally sharp, being capable of cutting through light armor and flesh with alarming ease.
- Mono Wire
- A cord fashioned out of monofilament wire. Stronger than steel and extremely sharp, a garrote made of this wire can easly decapitate a target, as well as being able to cut through a variety of substances. Spun across a doorway or across a passage, monowires can slice apart people moving through, making them very nasty and effective traps.
- Mono Whip
- An especially dangerous variation of this weapon is the mono whip: a monofilament wire that unspools from a grip; connected to the other end of the wire is a metal ball, serving as a weight to help stretch out the wire when it is swung through the air. In an expert's hands it can dismember a lightly armored target with ease. In the hands of a novice, it can easily dismember or kill its wielder.
- Mono Net Grenade
- A particularly nasty weapon, this grenade has little concussive force in its detonation, but instead unfurles a series of heavy balls that pull behind them monofilament wires, sweeping out in different directions. The effect on lightly armored targets is akin to running them through a blender. The weapon causes little collateral damage outside of the five meter radius of the wires, and is fairly quiet.
- Vibro Blade
- A bladed weapon that vibrates at an ultra-high frequency, the vibrations being caused by a power cell in the hilt. The vibrating blade disrupts the molecular bonds of its target, slicing through flesh and light armor with an ease that rivals mono blades but without the brittleness. Vibro blades can appear in the form of any sort of bladed weapon, as all it takes to create one is to take an existing blade and fit it into a hilt that includes a vibro-module. Even ancient blades, provided that they are in good shape, can be fitted with a vibro-module and function as a vibro blade. Vibro blades form an intermediary stage between mono blades and power blades; they are very deadly against lightly armored targets but are less effective against heavy armor. Vibroblades produce a distinctive whine when activated, a sound that is by itself very intimidating.
- Chain Sword
- Also known as "rippers", chain swords are a mechanical sword featuring a long, broad blade that is rounded about the tip and dull along its edges, and rimmed with a toothed chain. Essentially it's a weaponized chainsaw with a sword hilt, powered by a compact power cell. Shorter, dagger-like variations exist of this weapon. They cause swift and terrible damage against even well armored targets, and create a very intimidating buzzing noise while active. The drawback to this weapon is that should the blade strike a target that is too hard it could break the chain; should the chain break while the sword is in use, the wielder could suffer severe or even lethal injury.
- Power Sword
- Typically made of a heat conductive, high-heat resistance metal or ceramic alloy that incorperates a heating element internally along the entire length of the blade. While not reaching the tempatures of plasma-arc weapons, power weapons can reach high enough tempatures to slice through most conventional armor with ease, but do not do as well against thick powered and blast armors. Ceramic power weapons conduct heat faster and more evenly then their metal alloy counterparts, reaching their critical core tempature nearly instantaneously when activated, and retain the heat longer with less energy expended. Ceramic powered weapons are most common among the Talesian military, while Confederate and Empire designs are typically of a metal alloy.
- Plasma Arc Blade
- The closest one could hope to come to the iconic laser sword of pulp science fantasy, this is a bladed weapon composed of composite metals that has an edge that, when charged by a power cell in the hilt, is sheathed in a nimbus of plasma. The plasma sheath is intensely hot and aids the blade in slicing and burning through nearly any material. The edge of the blade also visibly glows, making for an intimidating sight. Plasma arc blades are superior in strength and cutting power, compared with power swords, but they are much more expenisve, as the only place to purchase them are from Wu Jen swordsmiths.
Bows, crossbows, slings, blow-darts, throwing knives, shiruken, and the like. A lot of very old weapons still see use today, either in the hands of aficionados and eccentrics, or in the hands of colonists too poor to afford anything better. Any modern spacer who would scoff at the deadliness of a centuries-old design like the crossbow might end up singing a different tune when he ends up with a bolt through the neck. They are just as deadly now as they have ever been, if only against poorly armored targets.
They also have a huge appeal in that they can easily be cobbled together from parts found in a machine shop, or out in the middle of the wildnerness.
Just don't bring your throwing stars to a gunfight unless you're supernaturally talented with them.
Ballistic weapons: guns that fire a mass of phyiscal matter out of a barrel, whether from chemical reactions creating expanding gasses or by means of magnetic propulsion. This class of weaponry is still highly popular across known space, mainly because of the simplicity, reliability, and affordability of design. Ballistic weapons still break down into the subcategories of pistols, rilfes, submachine guns, assault rifles, and machine guns. There are many current manufactureres of ballistic weapons, and many variant designs. Cheap generic guns copy many of the more popular designs, but at a budget.
Ballistic weapon break down into the following categories by ammunition type.
- Cased Bullets
- Guns that fire bullets contained in casings are by far the most popular of ballistic weapons. Cased ammunition is simple to make, and the chemicals to manufacture gunpowder are widely available. Guns that use this sort of ammunition are widespread and inexpensive, being especially popular in poor colonies where even primitive fabrication equipment can crank out simple guns and ammunition in a relatively short time. The main disadvantage to cased ammunition is that it is heavy and bulky and has limited usefulness in vacuum.
- Caseless Bullets
- Lighter than cased ammunition, caseless ammunition is electrically fired, allowing for a much faster rate of fire than is possible with cased bullets. Guns using this ammunition tends to be more popular in military applications due to the lighter weight of ammunition and the fewer moving parts involved. Guns using caseless bullets do require a power cell to provide the electrical charge to fire the bullets, such power cells either being incorporated into the ammo clip or being a separate cell within the gun.
Guns that use magnetically propelled ammunition, gauss weapons break into subcategories of rail and coil guns, both using similar principals but having distinct differences.
- Coil Guns
- Coil guns fire a metal slug down a tube wrapped in tightly coiled superconducting magnets, producing a very high muzzle velocity. Coilguns are smaller, more compact weapons than railguns, using slightly less energy. They can easily be adapted into pistols, SMGs, rifles, assault rifles, machine guns, mini guns, and the like. They can function very well in vacuum, and even underwater, provided that the electronics are properly insulated. The drawback to coilguns is that they are very expensive and require specialized ammunition.
- Some models of coilgun can fire a form of caseless ammunition called "gauss gunfoam". This form of ammunition is ignited by the electrical charge within the magnetic coil, having the advantage of requiring less power from the gun to fire the slug. The disadvantage is a slower muzzle velocity and the buildup of chemical residue inside of the barrel.
- Rail Guns
- Rail guns are an older form of gauss weapon technology, using a pair of electrically charged rails to propel a metal sabot to very high speeds. The modern version of this weapon is more compact than its ancient predecessor, but still is bulky and requires a lot of power for each shot. The ammunition for a rail gun is bulkier as well, but the advantage is that rail guns have a higher muzzle velocity than coil guns, the sabots achieving hypersonic velocities. Rail guns are never found in any size smaller than a heavy sniper rifle, but they make some of the best sniper rifles available, their sabots being capable of penetrating even thick armor; they are especially favored as anti-vehicle weapons.
Alternative Ballistic WeaponsEdit
Many unusual designs of firearms have developed over the centuries, some having been more of a success than others. A few examples are found here.
- Compressed Gas Gun
- Also called a BB Gun or Pellet Gun, the most familiar form of this class of weaponry uses simple compressed air to fire a small pellet, usually primed with a hand operated pump. Such weapons have too slow of a muzzle velocity to cause any more damage than painful welts, and then only to unarmored targets.
- However there is a lethal variant of this weapon that uses small tanks of compressed volitile gas that ignite when mixed, producing the explosive effect of a bullet without any actual propellant in the ammunition itself. The advantage to these weapons is that they can fire just about anything as ammunition, and are often designed in a blunderbuss form, functioning much like a shotgun. Ammunition can range from random nuts and bolts, nails, scraps of metal, silverware, even a hand full of pebbles. Anything that is hard and sharp can be turned into a cone of deadly shrapnel with this weapon, if only for a short range. These weapons are usually improvised, found in the hands of pirates or desperately poor colonists who can't afford proper ammunition but have access to the chemicals to create the propellant.
- Gyro Gun
- A gyro gun fires rocket-propelled bullets, designed to fire from the gun with minimal recoil and gain velocity over a distance. Usually the bullets lack much of an impact at short distances, making them useful only at a long range, or in a vacuum. Their lack of recoil makes them somewhat popular for use in micro gravity environments, and they are actually quite effective in dense atmospheres or in water, but they are for the most part little more than a novelty.
- Spring Gun
- A very simple device, usually in the form of a small pistol, that uses a tightly wound spring to fire a projectile, usually a dart containing some form of poison. They have very short range and poor penetration, but are quite silent.
Grenades & RPGsEdit
A class of weaponry that includes anti-personnel explosives, either thrown by hand or propelled by a rocket. Fine weapons for taking out targets that are hidden behind barriers, as well as killing numerous targets in a general area.
For the purposes of simplifying the classifications here, only the types of explosives will be detailed. The type of explosives detailed can be utilized either as hand grenades or as rocket-propelled grenades.
- Fragmentation Grenade
- An fairly simple weapon: a small chemical explosive charge wrapped in metal wire or a shell of metal that will fragment upon explosion, throwing shrapnel in all directions. Quite deadly within a five meter radius.
- Concussion Grenade
- An explosive charge without the metal shell. Intended to stun targets by the shockwave of the blast rather than killing them. Usually accompanied by a blinding flash to further disorient opponents.
- Smoke Grenade
- Intended not to harm, but to generate smoke to provide cover for people moving through hostile territory.
- Incendiary Grenade
- A grenade containing thermite or white phosphorous, designed primarily to destroy machinery although also devastating against living targets.
- EMP Grenade
- A grenade consisting of a metal coil wrapped around an explosive charge; the explosion of the charge causes the coil to become strongly magnetized before it vaporizes, creating a strong microwave pulse that affects a wide area. The pulse fries poorly shielded electronics, being an excellent means of disabling vehicles, powersuits, and robots.
- Plasma Grenade
- Technically an energy weapon, but included here since it is a type of grenade. The plasma grenade uses a similar principal to the Blaster pistol, taking a quantity of gas trapped in a gel, surrounding a metal coil which in turn is wrapped around a powerful chemical explosive. The detonation of the explosive charges the coil which excites the gel into a very high temperature plasma, causing it to spread outward into an intense fireball. The plasma explosion causes devastating damage to structures, melting metal, shattering concrete, and charring flesh and bone to ash. It is intended primarily for destroying buildings and vehicles....frankly the weapon is overkill against lightly armored targets.
A much more advanced class of weaponry, energy weapons have been in heavy use by the Selvens and the Talesians for a long time, and are gradually increasing in popularity across known space. Even the staunchest adherents to ballistic firearms have to admit that these fancy "rayguns" have merit, though they are still very expensive and tend to be very delicate and are more prone to malfunction. Energy weapons can be adapted into the same basic subclasses as ballistic weapons: pistols, rifles, SMGs, assault rifles, and machine guns, with varying degrees of success based on the type of energy weapon, as described below.
- Particle "Pulse" Weapons
- This variety of gun is commonly called a "phased plasma pulse" gun. The mechanisms within the gun injects a small quantity of gas into an "exciter" chamber, converting it into a plasma form, and then channels the plasma through a "quantum decoupler" which causes the atoms within the plasma to behave as waves, "phasing" them into a coherent bolt and then accelerating the bolt to an enormous velocity; effectively this weapon is an atomic laser.
- Pulse Guns are bleeding-edge technology in the Empire and Confederation; most Terran pulse-pistols are no more than reconstructed weapons from Selven or Talesian innards. Within the Talesian Star Republic and Selven worlds they are commonly used and mass produced, giving these factions an edge with personal handheld energy weaponry.
- Most models of pulse guns make use of gasses contained within the ammo clip/power cell, but some can make use of atmospheric gasses. Talesian pulse guns are larger physically then most conventional firearms to incorperate fully computerized controls and made more ergomatic to the wielder, but still weigh significantly less then their steel-clad counterparts.
- Pulse guns can generate low intensity bursts that can stun a target by overloading the nervous system. On a higher intensity they can cause kinetic as well as heat damage, puncturing and burning holes through the target, as well as any armor the target is wearing. At maximum intensity they can explosively decouple a target's molecules, resulting in massive damage.
- Pulse guns typically fire bolts of energy in a "pulsed" form, but some models can also be adjusted to fire steady beams that are capable of cutting through targets in much the same manner as a laser or particle beam, except that the pulse stream actually radiates visible light.
- Laser Weapons
- "L.A.S.E.R." stands for "Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation". Most lasers are visible light spectrum, though any spectrum can be used, in principle; though the device was named for light energy, its principles can be applied to any electromagnetic radiation, from gamma to radio. Laser weapons tend to be bulky and fragile, with large lenses and complicated optics. However, Laser weapons are long ranged, are effectively 'instant', as their destructive force travels at light speed. They work equally well in space and atmosphere, though not well in water. Dust and other particulates can stymie lasers, limiting their effectiveness.
- Lasers are common perimeter defense weapons for everything from military bases to the estates of fabulously wealthy individuals. A network of invisible ultraviolet beams can quickly slice apart an intruder before he even has a chance to react.
- They are also popular as sniper weapons, being lethal from kilometers away. If only in good weather.
- Maser Weapons
- Similar to a laser, but using a beam of focused microwaves. This weapon is quite effective in causing thermal damage in organic targets by heating up water molecules in their flesh. They are also very effecive in building up a strong static electrical charge in any metal in a target; the arcing of that static charge having the potential to cause damage to any electronics in the target. Basically a portable electromagnetic pulse gun, these are useful for disabling poorly shielded vehicles and robots.
- Particle Beam Weapons
- This class of weaponry fires a beam of subatomic particles, ranging from electrons, protons, neutrons, positrons, and the like, accelerated to near-light speed. Rarely seen in a portable form, due to their bulkiness and immense power requirements, they are quite similar to lasers in the speed of the beam, and the kind of damage caused. Being a beam of ionizing radiation, they tend to be more effective against forms of armor that would diffuse or reflect a laser.
- Plasma Lance
- A particularly brutish weapon, the plasma lance is essentially a flame thrower, except that it fires a spray of superheated plasma rather than chemical fire. A small fusion generator in a backpack excites a stream of gas, whether it's spent fusion fuel or drawn from atmospheric gas, converting it into plasma and focusing it through a magnetic coil into a deadly stream. The plasma stream does not have a very good range, and it gobbles up an obscene amount of energy, but the damage caused within that range is immense, cutting down most anything in its path. These weapons are very effective at clearing out rooms and burning through obstacles.
- Flamer Gun
- Simply a chemical flamethrower; while technically not an energy weapon, this sort of weapon is the less expensive cousin of the Plasma Lance. It fires a stream of a flammable chemical that is ignited by a flame or electrical arc at the barrel of the gun; that stream of flaming chemical can be sprayed upon targets with devastating effect. While not nearly as hot as a plasma lance, this weapon is still very effective against organic targets. Unlike the plasma lance, a flamer is useless outside of an Earth-normal atmosphere, since the chemical reaction normally requires oxygen. Some variations of flamer fuel can burn without oxygen, but still require Earth-like atmospheric pressures to maintain the combustion.
- Sonic Gun
- A largely non-lethal energy weapon, the sonic gun produces a cone of highly focused high intensity sound waves that incapacitates targets by forcefully vibrating their internal organs. Naturally, the weapon must be used within an atmosphere. Usually the effect of the weapon is to cause pain, disorientation, and nausea. Prolonged exposure can cause serious internal injuries. Most often used as an anti-riot weapon.